Dec 4 2012 11:30am

Revolver: An Under-Appreciated Film

Revolver Movie Poster

The movie Revolver was panned in England where it was released. It got 1/2 out of 5 stars. Only after adding some scenes and re-editing did it come the U.S., but even then, no one saw it. In fact, now it’s available to watch on the Internet for free. So what happened?

Directed by Guy Ritchie and written by Luc Besson it had great bones and should have been terrific. It starred Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore, and a whole host of British baddies I recognize from other bad guys movies, so it should have been interesting. Guy Ritchie films have a certain style to them that I appreciate. He’s sort of the love child of Akira Kurosawa and Quentin Tarantino, so I approached Revolver with that sort of anticipation.

But Ritchie pulled a David Lynch. And the problem is that he’s not a David Lynch (known for impenetrable “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”-inspired dream-like movies such as Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire and Lost Highway).

Which is why I probably loved the movie where everyone else hated it.

So what’s the big deal about Revolver and why have you never heard of it, you ask?

Here’s a little spoilage. Not a lot. Just a bit. But I need to set the stage so I can talk about story construction. IMDB has a very credible synopsis , so I won’t repeat what it’s already said. Instead, let me talk about the throughline and what Luc Besson and Guy Ritchie manage to achieve. I’ll wait here while you read it and return. Ready. Set. Go!

The movie’s plot or throughline is about one man being tricked into helping another. Two men convince a second set of two men, in this case, major gangsters, that they are out to get each other. Filled with terrific Guy Ritchie action and dialogue, the movie has everything I love.

But the subplot is what elevates it to greatness. Interwoven like a sine wave along the plotline is the idea that ego can so take control of you that it can turn your life into a game. It further states that if you listen to it, you become a victim of yourself. You’ll also find aspects of numerology and the Kabbalah heavily influenced the film and were used to construct the subplot. It’s a pretty complicated idea, probably why English seemed to dislike it and it was only shown on 18 screens in the U.S. It was definitely hard to, as they say, grok.

But the majesty of the construction of the movie is that while you’re watching the action of the plot, the subplot is weaving through and past you, so well, that in the end, the plot doesn’t really matter at all. It was the subplot all along that was the most important. In this case, I think the disservice to both the plot and the subplot came with the ending. If you’re going to try and do something like Ritchie did, you’re going to have to wrap it up a little more neatly. Nothing lets an audience or a reader get what you’re trying to say than a little denouement after the conclusion of the action. (But then again David Lynch gets away with it all the time.)

Jason Statham in Revolver

This sine wave throughline construction, my friends, takes skill, especially when we are so wrapped up in the plot (or “the game” as the movie says), that we discover all the things we missed, only too late. Similar films include Donnie Darko and The Usual Suspects.

Have you seen it? What are your thoughts? Did Ritchie out-Lynch Lynch? Do you want to know where you can see it for free?

Looking for something to read rather than something to watch? To enter for a chance to win one of five copies of Weston Ochse’s SEAL Team 666, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2012/12/revolver-an-under-appreciated-film-weston-ochse-thriller-jason-statham-sweepstakes beginning at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) December 4, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET on December 11, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at https://www.criminalelement.com/page/official-rules-seal-team-666-comments-contest. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010

Weston Ochse’s last name is pronounced “oaks.” Together with his first name, it sounds like a stately trailer park. He is the author of nine novels, most recently SEAL Team 666. He lives in the Arizona desert within rock throwing distance of Mexico. For fun he races tarantula wasps and watches the black helicopters dance along the horizon.

Read all posts by Weston Ochse for Criminal Element.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Brianna Lee
1. briannaleereviews
Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to win! Happy Holidays all!
Mo Heedles
2. MoinNH
I have watched many a bad movie just because Jason Statham was in it. I will have to give this a try and hope for the best. Thanks for the giveaway.
Suzanne Gonneville
3. Thumbs
Suzanne Gonneville
5. Thumbs
You're my neighbor!! I also live in AZ, N of Tucson tho, but we could still run into each other as we race those tarantula wasps.
Karen Arrowood
6. msakma
I have never heard of this movie, but I'm always looking for something new. Thanks so much for this opportunity!
Andrew Kuligowski
7. KuligowskiAndrew
I've never gotten into either David Lynch (and I don't know why, because I usually love "quirky") or Guy Ritchie, so something that combines the two styles could prove to be interesting to me OR could really turn me off!
Anne Muller
8. anne38
I completely missed this when it was released. Always willing to pay a buck for a DVD rental with Jason Statham. Why didn't you include a link to the free site online?
William Hamilton
9. billham68
Look forward to reading Seal Team 666. Does that mean the team is three times better than Seal Team 6?
Karen Cherubino
11. kcherubtx
I rarely agree with critics and usually enjoy/love movies others have panned (and usually dislike what others have raved about!). I'd love to see this movie, especially for free. And watching Jason Statham is not a hardship. SEAL Team 666 sounds interesting, even if a bit out of the norm from what I usually read. Thanks for the chance to win.
Darlene Slocum
13. darandsam
I love books that keep me reading when I really should be asleep. Thanks for that chance.
David Vinther
14. dvinther
I'll have to check out the movie and the book. Hadn't heard anything about Revolver before
Susan Pertierra
15. orchidlady01
I could go for a free movie with Jason Statham in it. He looks different with the facial hair. Looks action packed from the trailer.

I also could get into the book Seal Team 666 based on the description "the finest and baddest supernatural unconventional warfare special mission unit in the United States inventory".
16. Georgiann Hennelly
hope i win a copy of seal team 666
Deanna Stillings
18. reader123
I may not see the movie, but I'd love to win the book! Dee
19. The Loopy Librarian
I've never heard of the movie, but I'd love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!
Allison Moyer
20. The Loopy Librarian
Oops! Wasn't logged in! I've never heard of the movie, but I'd love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!
Steven Anderson
22. writers2b
Okay, I've been meaning to watch this movie. I really must get to it now.
Statham has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. Just saw a bit part he did in Collaterol with Tom Cruise (in the beginning of the movie.)
Weston Ochse
23. Master_Blaster
Hey folks. Thanks for all the comments (Weston Ochse here). If you want to see it for free, you can go to either Crackle.com or youtube.
Irene Menge
24. Goldenmane
This sounds like a very interesting read. Thank you for the giveaway.
Charles Fraker
25. CharlieF
I've read several of Weston's books and his new one sounds like another winner. Please sign me up for the contest. Thanks!
Laura McLendon
26. LMcLendon
I almost always like the book better than the movie anyway :) Here is my entry!!
Bruce Hamilton
27. deerwalker
thanks for the giveaway Hope to win LOL

31. darbyscloset
I most definitely am looking for something to read!!! Thanks for the heads up on the movie .... I really like Guy Ritchie, yet I will think twice before I watch "Revolver"!
Thanks for the opportunity!
vicki wurgler
32. bison61
I have never heard of this movie but I do like Ray Liotta
Melissa Keith
33. melly801
SNATCH is one of my favorite movies and it's directed by Guy Ritchie. *gasp* I've never heard of REVOLVER. But I would love to see it as I really enjoy Ritchie's work. Would you send me Jason Statham for Christmas? OH...you can't? Well then I'd love SEAL TEAM 666. I read a blurb about it yesterday and it appeals. Have a super, terrific day!
Beverly Price
35. bocababe
It sounds good. I would be happy to be selected. Happy Holidays!!!
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